Strategisk ledelse af forskningsbaseret myndighedsbetjening

Lone Brøndsted

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


In Denmark, authorities consult the scientific community for expert advice on how to combat societal challenges within food safety, animal health and energy, thus allowing the government to act and make decisions based on scientific evidence. Even though Danish universities have provided independent scientific advice to authorities for more that 10 years, strategic university management within this area has not been investigated previously. The aim of this master thesis is to identify strategic thinking and actions of universities supporting scientific advice to authorities and reveal use of this knowledge to create public value of university-authority collaboration. The idea of Mark Moore that public value is essential for strategy development in public organisations was used to identify the societal value of the work. Analysis of semi-structured interviews of managers at universities and governmental institutions showed that many parameters influence strategic management at universities, thus providing a complex frame for strategy development. The public value was determined as: Independent evidence-based advice that allow trustworthy and transparent political decisions of societal significance. Essential operational capacities of universities were identified as high scientific quality, international networks and organisational experience in advising authorities. The independency of universities and separation of scientific advice from policy is essential for legitimacy and support and thus public value creation. Synergies between operational capacities of universities and authorities is an essential legitimacy to support public value. It is interesting that decision-making based on scientific evidence also support development of the associated industries and universities and promotes a public that is articulate of expectations to authorities, thus aiming of creating at a just and fair society. Institutional theory allowed analysis of the semi-structured interviews focusing on universityauthority interactions. While each type of organisation represents its own institutional orders (universities: profession, authorities: state) having different sense of self and identity and thus very different values and behaviours, they share their view on the public value of their collaboration. Interestingly, a common strategic goal ensures collaboration between the institutions, despite their differences. Furthermore, formalised contracts and even competitive tendering ensure a clear institutional frame, thus supporting collaboration and public value creation. Analysis of university-authority collaboration shows that mutual trust and understanding of institutional logic is essential for navigating in such complex collaboration. University management is well aware of specific managerial actions that support employees in providing advice for authorities. These include integration of advising authorities into the classical university tasks – teaching and research, and counselling employees within communication and 4 research quality. Public reforms and new societal challenges within the scientific areas of authorityadvising creates an interactive and ever changing environment for strategy development, suggesting that emerging strategies suggested by Mintzberg is a useful approach. In this perspective managers should know the capabilities of the organisation well enough to set the strategic direction, but allow strategies to evolve gradually through the actions and experiences of the organisation. University managers expressed profound interests in contributing to scientific advising of the authorities, but are also concerned with changing conditions such as competitive tendering. The analysis pointed to three major strategic areas important for future involvement in advising of authorities. These are: Research strategies including consideration of the areas of interests, development of international research networks and sharing knowledge between Danish universities. However, university strategy is influenced by many other parameters and universities must carefully consider if prioritizing their involvement in providing advice for the authorities is still attractive in a broader context in the future. In conclusion, this thesis has provided new knowledge of strategic management within advising of authorities that may allow universities consider their strategy development within this growing area of cross-sectorial collaboration of high societal value and importance.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages104
SupervisorsCarsten Greve